Connect with us

Downtown

RVA Legends — Allen & Ginter

A look into the history of Richmond places and people that have disappeared from our landscape.

Avatar

Published

on

[IOR] — Allen & Ginter, Manufacturers of Cigarettes and Smoking Tobacco — Office and Factory

Sixth & Cary Streets NW (Warehouse)
600 East Cary Street (Stemmery)
Seventh & Cary Streets SW (Factory)

P. H. Mayo may have been the first, but Allen & Ginter became the king.

(NCPedia) — Harper’s Weekly illustration, January 15, 1887 issue — showing women hand-rolling cigarettes in a Virginia factory

(NCpedia) — Harper’s Weekly illustration, January 15, 1887 issue — showing women hand-rolling cigarettes in a Virginia factory

This establishment, which was the first of its kind in Virginia, was founded in 1865, by Messrs. Allen & Ginter. They employ eleven hundred hands, nearly all of whom are girls, have eighteen commercial salesmen on the road, and their goods are known all over the world. This was the first Cigarette Factory in the United States that employed female help in manipulating Cigarettes, and the superiority of this labor over all other is attested by the fact that all other Cigarette factories are following the example of Messrs. Allen & Ginter.

(VCU) — 1889 Baist Atlas Map of Richmond — Plate 1 — showing the warehouse (left), stemmery (center), & factory (bottom) locations

(VCU) — 1889 Baist Atlas Map of Richmond — Plate 1 — showing the warehouse (left), stemmery (center), & factory (bottom) locations

They occupy three large brick buildings, each 70×150 feet, five stories high, which gives them the vast amount of 157,500 square feet of floor space. The two buildings at the corner of 7th and Cary streets, are the manufacturing and shipping departments, while the one at the corner of 6th and Cary streets is used exclusively for the storage and preparing of leaf.

August 2019 — looking towards former warehouse location at Sixth & Cary Streets NW

August 2019 — looking towards former warehouse location at Sixth & Cary Streets NW

The entire works are fitted throughout with the most modern machinery, and other appliances, for the successful prosecution of their immense business. The establishment is a paragon of neatness, and the most complete system reigns throughout the premises. They have branch houses in New York, Chicago, San Francisco and London.

August 2019 — looking towards former stemmery location at 600 East Cary Street

August 2019 — looking towards former stemmery location at 600 East Cary Street

Their production is chiefly fine grades of Cigarettes and Smoking Tobacco. Their Cigarettes have a reputation that has made them a standard article in all parts of the world. They have received the highest awards of merit at the great exhibitions in Philadelphia, Paris, Sydney, Melbourne and New Orleans.

August 2019 — looking towards former factory location at Seventh & Cary Streets SW

August 2019 — looking towards former factory location at Seventh & Cary Streets SW

In addition to their immense sale in this country, they export them to all parts of the world, and there is scarcely a country in which they are not sold. While the sale of adulterated brands of many American manufacturers has been prohibited in Great Britain, their absolutely pure goods have attained the largest popular sale ever known in Cigarettes in that country, with a steadily increasing demand.

(EBay) — Allen & Ginter Tobacco Reverse Painted Glass Sign, circa 1890

(EBay) — Allen & Ginter Tobacco Reverse Painted Glass Sign, circa 1890

Their Cigarettes are made with different degrees of strength to suit all tastes. They use the tasteless French rice paper, made in France expressly for them. It has no smell, and its purity is such that in burning scarcely an atom of ash remains.

(Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden) — advertisement for Richmond Gem, Richmond Straight Cut, & Our Little Beauties

(Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden) — advertisement for Richmond Gem, Richmond Straight Cut, & Our Little Beauties

Among their leading brands, are “Richmond Straight Cuts,” “The Pet,” “Dubec” (genuine Turkish), “Virginia Brights,” “Opera Puff,” “Our Little Beauties,” “Perfection,” “Richmond Gem,” “Sunny South,” “Dixie,” and “Dainties.”

Among their Smoking Mixtures, are “Imperial,” “Richmond Gem,” “ Richmond Straight Cut, No. 1,” “Perique,” “Turkish,” “Richmond Mixture, Nos. 1 and 2.”

Cut Plug Tobaccos. “Cable Coil,” “Dixie Chop,” “Richmond Cavendish, Nos. 1 and 2,” “Imperial Cavendish,” &c, &c. Granulated Tobaccos. “Matchless,” “Buds and Blossoms,” “Dixie.” and “Killickinnick.”

(Find A Grave) — John Frederick Allen

(Find A Grave) — John Frederick Allen

In 1882, Mr. Allen, the senior partner, retired, and Mr. Lewis Ginter admitted Mr. John Pope into co partnership, continuing under the old firm name. No firm in existence is more liberal to its employees, or mindful of their interests. Messrs. Ginter and Pope are two of Richmond’s most progressive and representative business men. [IOR]

(Find A Grave) — Lewis Ginter

(Find A Grave) — Lewis Ginter

Allen & Ginter succeeded in dominating the cigarette market in large part due to Lewis Ginter’s singular business acumen. Not only did he create a successful blend of bright and burley tobaccos for a tempting, tasty smoke, he also knew how to market his ciggies. [CIGC]

Starting in 1875, Allen & Ginter became the first tobacco company to issue colorful trading cards with each pack of smokes. Originally, the intent was practical, to stiffen the soft cigarette packs, but by adding a colorful advertising plug, they set off a collector craze that drove sales and forced the industry to follow suit. (Collectors Weekly)

Unfortunately, Ginter’s skills were not universal, and it cost him.

(U. S. Patent & Trademark Office) — diagram from James Albert Bonsack’s U.S. patent 238,640, granted March 8, 1881

(U. S. Patent & Trademark Office) — diagram from James Albert Bonsack’s U.S. patent 238,640, granted March 8, 1881

As mentioned above, Allen & Ginter’s factory output was all derived by hand. Rolling cigarettes was time-consuming, required a large labor force, and limited production. As cigarettes became more popular with the smoking public, tobacco companies started looking for ways to automate the process. Allen & Ginter sponsored a competition for a solution, which was won in 1881 by 22-year-old American inventor James Bonsack.

(PeoplePill) — James Albert Bonsack, sporting a smug “I’m so smart” expression that makes you want to smack him

(PeoplePill) — James Albert Bonsack, sporting a smug “I’m so smart” expression that makes you want to smack him

Bonsack produced a machine that rolled a single long cigarette that was then cut into separate pieces. However, the technology was new and finicky, requiring lots of tinkering to keep it operational. In a singular example of not being able to read the tea leaves, Allen & Ginter elected not to use the device, preferring to stay with their tried and true process.

Enter everyone’s favorite tobacco villain, James Buchanan Duke, President of American Tobacco Company.

(Duke University Libraries) — James Buchanan Duke

(Duke University Libraries) — James Buchanan Duke

Duke saw the promise of the Bonsack Machine and immediately inked a deal for its exclusive use. American Tobacco Company actively worked with Bonsack to improve the device, which eventually came to dominate the industry. It gave Duke a powerful competitive advantage over his rivals and led to Ginter’s surrender in 1890. Allen & Ginter was reduced to a being a subsidiary of the new American Tobacco Company Trust, led by Duke as its new president. [CIGC]

(Vintage Richmond) — showing the Imperial Tobacco Company building that replaced the former Allen & Ginter warehouse in 1904, itself demolished in the late 70s

(Vintage Richmond) — showing the Imperial Tobacco Company building that replaced the former Allen & Ginter warehouse in 1904 at the NW corner of Sixth & Cary, itself demolished in the late 70s

As for the Allen and Ginter locations, it is difficult to pin down when they were built and when they fell, but their operations would eventually relocate to the American Tobacco Company’s new factory on North Twentieth Street. The former Allen & Ginter buildings were picked up by other tobacco enterprises, and their glory days were over.

(Allen & Ginter is part of the Atlas RVA! Project)


Print Sources

  • [CIGC] The Cigarette Century. Allan M. Brandt. 2007.
  • [IOR] Industries of Richmond. James P. Wood. 1886
  • [RVCJ03] Richmond, Virginia: The City on the James: The Book of Its Chamber of Commerce and Principal Business Interests. G. W. Engelhardt. 1903.

rocket_werks

Comments

comments

Combining protean forces from the forbidden Zero Serum with the unbridled power of atomic fusion, to better probe the Wisdom of the Ancients and their Forgotten Culture.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Downtown

Schools, nonprofits hustle to feed over a half million Virginia students: ‘It’s incredible’

Richmond school bus driver Tyrone McBride is still driving a big, yellow bus through Richmond neighborhoods, but these days, he’s transporting boxes of food for kids in need. More than a week has passed since Gov. Ralph Northam announced students will not return to school this academic year, and volunteers are still fighting to feed the 590,000 children in Virginia with free or reduced lunches who were ordered to remain home during the coronavirus pandemic.

Capital News Service

Published

on

By Hannah Eason

Richmond school bus driver Tyrone McBride is still driving a big, yellow bus through Richmond neighborhoods, but these days, he’s transporting boxes of food for kids in need.

“It gets me out of the house,” said McBride, who has been a school bus driver for 18 years, “and you know, you’re doing a great deed and helping people out.”

More than a week has passed since Gov. Ralph Northam announced students will not return to school this academic year, and volunteers are still working to feed the 590,000 children in Virginia eligible for free or reduced lunches who were ordered to remain home during the coronavirus pandemic. Schools have been closed since March 16, though students were originally slated to return by March 27.

Whitcomb Court resident Simone Sanders said her children are now eating at home during the day, but she didn’t receive an increase in food stamps. One child is disabled, which prevents Sanders from being able to work.

“It’s affecting us bad, especially in the projects, and there’s nothing for the kids to do all day,” Sanders said. “And then you have to worry about your child just being outside getting shot.”

Sanders said she’s grateful for the food from Richmond Public Schools, and says she occasionally gives food to neighborhood kids who say they’re hungry.

The Richmond Public Schools meal distribution program, like others around the state, continues to evolve during the coronavirus pandemic that caused a surge of Virginians to file for unemployment. Almost 46,300 Virginians filed for unemployment between March 15 and March 21. The previous week 2,706 people filed an unemployment claim, according to the Virginia Employment Commission.

The program started with 10 school sites, and has since grown into at least 43 sites throughout the community and 10 school sites.

Erin Stanley, director of family engagement at Richmond Public Schools, said volunteers, bus drivers and the district’s nutrition staff have made the efforts possible. Volunteers were using personal vehicles to drop off food, but RPS decided that school buses would better suit the cause.

“We did that for a couple of reasons,” Stanley said. “One, so we can get more food out, and two, because school buses are a bit more well known and probably more trusted than individual volunteers going in with their personal vehicles.”

Plastic bags filled with milk cartons, sandwiches, apples and snacks are handed out in neighborhoods found on the Richmond Public Schools’ website. School distribution sites are open Monday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and neighborhood times vary by location. Any student in the school district can use the program, Stanley said.

Volunteer Natalie Newfield said many families she gave meals to lost jobs in the restaurant industry.

 “They’re changing the way they do deliveries, which is amazing,” Newfield said. “Every day you give them a count. If they need more food, the next day, all of a sudden your bus has more food. It’s incredible.”

Statewide efforts to feed children in Virginia

When schools closed, the U.S. Department of Agriculture activated the Summer Meals Program, which funds public schools and local organizations to serve breakfast and lunch during the summer.

Del. Danica Roem, D-Prince William, pressed the USDA to change its policy which required parents to have their child with them when picking up food.

Roem said it was difficult for a Prince William County mother to access food for her two children. Her daughter has an immune system deficiency caused by recent cancer treatments, making her susceptible to the COVID-19 virus.

“When you’re talking about a 7-year-old with cancer, we have to really evaluate what is it that our policy is trying to prevent that is more important than feeding a child with cancer,” Roem said.

Roem said she was able to bring groceries to the family, who live in the representative’s district. As they carried bags of food inside, Roem said the mother told her children, “We’re eating tonight.”

“I fought with the USDA for a full week and won a major, major victory for kids throughout Virginia and across the country, and especially immunocompromised kids, to make sure that they stay safe, that they stay home,” Roem said.

The USDA waived the restriction last week, and states can now choose to waive the in-person policy for students to receive food.

No Kid Hungry, a national campaign launched by nonprofit Share Our Strength, is offering emergency grants to local school divisions and organizations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The grants can help people who are trying to make meal distribution possible, but may lack the equipment necessary to feed children outside of a school setting.

Sarah Steely, senior program manager at No Kid Hungry Virginia, said the grants can fund necessities like vehicles, gas, coolers and equipment to keep food safe during distribution.

“Those might not be resources that folks already have, because those aren’t service models that were expected of them before,” Steely said, “so we’re here to support community organizations and school divisions as they figure out what it is they need to distribute to kids.”

The organization works with YMCAs, childcare centers, libraries and all 133 of Virginia’s public school divisions.

The organization recently activated their texting hotline for those unsure of where their next meal is coming from: text “FOOD” to 877-877. The hotline is generally used during the summer months, but was reactivated to combat food insecurity during the coronavirus pandemic.

Steely called the hotline “a tool in a bigger toolbox of resources” and encouraged families to contact their local school board for updated information about their locality.

“They count on that as a primary source of nutrition, so with schools closed, we want to make sure that the students who are accessing meals at school are now accessing those meals at home,” Steely said.

Comments

comments

Continue Reading

Community

Use Exact Change or E-Zpass on Powhite Parkway Starting Today

There will be no manned booths taking money on Powhite for the foreseeable future.

Avatar

Published

on

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) has temporarily suspended cash exchange tolls on Powhite Parkway extension and the George P. Coleman Memorial Bridge. This means there won’t be someone to take your money so either have exact change, pay too much, or use an E-Zpass. No mention of any changes to Nickel aka Boulevard Bridge.

As of April 1, if you make an unpaid trip on a Virginia toll facility, you may be able to pay that toll through the “missed-a-toll” process before receiving a notice/invoice. The “missed-a-toll” payment process must take place within six days of the unpaid toll trip.

The standard administration fee associated with “missed-a-toll” has been suspended temporarily.

Exact change can still be dropped into the coin basket at the Powhite Parkway Extension.

E-ZPass is now the most convenient and safest way to pay tolls.

For more information or to order your own E-ZPass, click here.

Comments

comments

Continue Reading

Community

Friday Cheers cancels, postpones various concerts amid COVID-19

Venture Richmond Events staff is working to reschedule Friday Cheers’ early June artist performances, and remain cautiously optimistic about performances later in June.

Avatar

Published

on

Friday Cheers fans are devoted and unwavering, but in these times we must all be mindful that the COVID-19 virus has dramatically changed our daily social interactions and we must all follow the directives of Virginia Governor Ralph Northam’s stay-at-home executive order through June 10.

The governor’s order prohibits all public and private in-person gatherings of more than 10 individuals.

With these guidelines, and for the safety of both our patrons and staff, we have made the following changes to the May Friday Cheers schedule:

  • Jade Bird with Sweet Potatoes that was previously scheduled for Friday, May 1, 2020 is cancelled.
  • Billy Strings with Andrew Alli and Josh Small is rescheduled for Wednesday, August 26, 2020.
  • RVA Music Night – Palm Palm is rescheduled for Friday, May 21, 2021.
  • Jay Som with Angelica Garcia – We are working to reschedule this show for Friday Cheers 2021 and will provide details when finalized.

Venture Richmond Events staff is working to reschedule Friday Cheers’ early June artist performances, and remain cautiously optimistic about performances later in June.

2020 Friday Cheers Season Pass holders can still use their pass for the remaining June Friday Cheers events and for the rescheduled Billy Strings event on August 26, 2020.

In addition, as a thank you for your understanding during this difficult time, 2020 Season Pass holders will receive a 50% discount off a 2021 Friday Cheers Season Pass! TicketsToBuy.com will email current Season Pass holders with information about the discount which can be used when purchasing a 2021 Season Pass.

Those who have purchased a ticket online for any one of these May events may request a refund by emailing [email protected]com beginning Friday, April 3, 2020.

Venture Richmond Events, LLC and its staff work to produce an excellent experience for you on Brown’s Island, but we take the safety and health of our guests, staff, and community very seriously, and appreciate your continued support moving forward.

At this time, all other events produced by Venture Richmond Events, LLC, including the June Friday Cheers events, remain scheduled as planned, but are subject to change. Again, thank you for your continued support of Friday Cheers.

Presented by: Pacifico
Sponsored by: CoStar, Dominion Green Power,  Delta Hotels by MarriottDrive Shack103.7 PlayRichmond.comStyle Weekly NBC12CW Richmond and Easley Made Catering.

Comments

comments

Continue Reading

Richmond Weather

Events Calendar